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Spouted cartons extend milk's shelf life

Alta Dena® Certified Dairy is one of the first U.S. dairies to use SPOUT-PAK® spouted paperboard gabletop cartons from International Paper (Memphis, TN).
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Last summer the City of Industry CA dairy introduced its Natural Select(TM) and Natural Select Organics milks in 1/2-gal sizes sold refrigerated. The Organics line is protein-fortified with extra milk solids and comes from cows whose feedstock is free of chemicals such as rBST. Unlike the 14-day shelf life common for milk shelf life for these milks is about 22 days says Carole Roquemore corporate communications director. The extended shelf life is attributable to the super-clean environment including HEPA-filtered air of the machine that packs the milk: the Model EH2 from Evergreen Packaging Equipment (Cedar Rapids IA). It forms and fills cartons at 120/min. The SPOUT-PAK fitment includes a PE base and polypropylene cap. The carton is described by International Paper as its standard polyethylene/paper/PE structure. While the Organics line is currently sold only within West Coast markets the 22-day shelf life will let Alta Dena expand that range. "We sell product to natural food stores in all 50 states so if we can get a longer shelf life it furthers our distribution reach [for these milks]" notes Roquemore. "The resealable screw cap cartons protect the milk by keeping out odors and light which can damage the milk's natural flavor and nutritional value" she adds. At this point Alta Dena is working with its vendors to alleviate a minor leakage problem Roquemore believes is attributable to bottom sealing. Other than that the package/product launch has gone well. "It's premature to attribute sales specifically to this carton" says Roquemore. "But so far consumers love the taste of the organic milk and the convenience of the spout. They're used to using the spout on orange juice cartons. And the litho-printed graphics [in up to seven colors] help the cartons pop off the shelf at retail."

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